Ryan Companies Announces Two Senior Living Communities in Texas

Sugar Land and Georgetown will be newest locations for Grand Living

Riverstone Rendering -Ryan Companies

Riverstone Rendering -Ryan Companies

Ryan Companies US, Inc. and Grand Living announced today their intent to develop two senior living communities in Texas: Grand Living at Riverstone and Grand Living at Georgetown.   These projects are located in Sugar Land and Georgetown Texas respectively.  The communities will follow the age-in-place model and include all Grand Living amenities available at other locations.

Grand Living and Ryan Companies have eight communities currently under construction and development across the US in Florida, Iowa and now Texas.  The Grand Living experience has been identified as a distinctive lifestyle and healthcare service for seniors. Each Texas project will include 180 units of independent living, assisted living and memory care.  Well known for their amenities and services the Texas Grand Living projects will include: 24 hour on-site staffing, multiple dining venues, a performance theater, the Grand Spa and Salon, an outdoor pool, Club Room, Library, and many other offerings.   Both projects are expected to break ground in early 2019.

“Grand Living has been delivering upscale senior living communities in Florida and Iowa since 2015, now Texas will be the home of their next two,” said Eric Anderson, Vice President of Development, Ryan Companies. “Aside from the one of a kind amenities offered, Grand Living offers the best healthcare and lifestyle service offerings available in the market.”Grand Living at Riverstone will be located in Sugar Land Texas, at 4814 LJ Parkway, Sugar Land TX  77479. Grand Living at Georgetown is located north of Austin at 1330 W. University Avenue, Georgetown TX  78628.  Both Texas communities will be developed and built by Ryan Companies, designed by Ryan Companies A + E and managed by Grand Living.

About Ryan Companies US, Inc.

Founded in 1938, Ryan Companies offers comprehensive commercial real estate services as a national developer, architect, capital investment consultant, builder and real estate manager with a focus on bringing lasting value to its customers and the communities in which it works. Ryan market depth includes retail, industrial, healthcare and senior living. Ryan development and corporate build-to-suit work spans a wide range of product types including office, mixed-use, hospitality, multifamily housing and mission critical facilities. Ryan has nearly 1,300 employees in 15 offices and has completed projects in 38 states. For more information, visit ryancompanies.com.

Eight Common “Flow Breakers” Leaders Face—and How to Defuse Them 

Constant disruptions at work prevent managers from achieving flow, the state of concentration that allows them to do their best work. The authors of Mind Tools for Managers highlight the most common flow breakers at work and offer tips for eliminating them.

Sometimes it seems like the workplace is designed to keep you doing anything besides, well…working. If you’re a manager, this is a serious problem because everything at work hinges on your ability to effectively lead your team. Still, distractions abound in most offices, from buzzing phones to watercooler chit-chat to the endless lure of surfing the web. With all this chaos, it’s difficult to achieve the intense state of concentration known as flow, where employees of all levels do their best work.

“Flow is a state of mind that occurs when all your conscious thought is focused on what you are doing,” says Julian Birkinshaw, coauthor along with James Manktelow of Mind Tools for Managers: 100 Ways to Be a Better Boss (Wiley, April 2018, ISBN: 978-1-119-37447-3, $28.00). “Unfortunately, in the modern workplace, flow can be difficult to achieve and maintain. As a result, you are a less productive manager and stay stressed out at work. But by weeding out typical office distractions and interruptions, you can improve your focus, get more done, and become a more effective manager.”

Mind Tools for Managers identifies the 100 skills that a manager can master to become a better leader. They were identified in a survey of 15,242 managers and professionals worldwide. This research was conducted by James Manktelow, founder and CEO of MindTools.com, and Professor Julian Birkinshaw, deputy dean for programs at London Business School. The authors provide practical advice for each of these skills—one of which is the ability to stay focused—and direct the reader to the MindTools website for a deeper dive into specific skill-building articles, worksheets, videos, and more.

Even if you’re one of the many managers struggling to maintain focus at work, you can achieve a state of flow—which was first described in detail by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi—by managing or eliminating the distractions that pull you out of concentration. Keep reading to learn about some of the most common distractions managers and employees typically face at work (and how to deal with them), excerpted from the article “Minimizing Distractions: 10 Ways to Take Control of Your Day.” For more information, please refer to Mind Tool 12-1: http://mnd.tools/12-1.

FLOW BREAKER 1: The relentless presence of personal technology. Smartphones and now smartwatches have blurred the line between personal and professional communication. Now you can receive work emails and calls on the same device as private Facebook comments, Instagram photos, and an array of other personal information. The good news is, this is a challenge that you and your colleagues can effectively manage yourselves. When focusing on a particular piece of work, choose to put away your phones for a certain amount of time. That way you can devote your attention entirely to the project at hand.

FLOW BREAKER 2: Email, email, and more email. Many emails in your inbox are probably not particularly important, and yet you may feel you must look at them when they arrive. Instead, try these tactics:

  • Schedule checking time. Turn off the alert that appears on your computer screen when you receive an email, and check and respond to messages at set times instead. This helps you manage your coworkers’, managers’, and customers’ expectations about how and when you will reply to them.
  • Choose “low-productivity” times. There are likely certain times of the day when you do your best work, like first thing in the morning or maybe late at night. Schedule email check-ins for your less-productive times and save your peak hours for high-value work.
  • Turn emails into actions. If you need more than a few minutes to read an email, add it to your to-do list.

FLOW BREAKER 3: Social media and web browsing. Both are major productivity killers. Trouble is, organizations can no longer block people’s access to websites that aren’t work-related—smartphones can easily get around this. So it’s up to you to use social media and the rest of the web responsibly. If it is acceptable within your organization, use a brief personal browsing session as a reward for an hour or two of high-quality, focused work.

FLOW BREAKER 4: Nerve-jangling phone calls. The ring of a phone often prompts an intense need to answer, even when you’re in deep concentration. To minimize this source of distraction for you and your team, consider arranging a rotation so that team members can take calls for one another. Also be sure to let friends and family know that you will be available for calls only at lunchtime or in the evening.

FLOW BREAKER 5: Distractions in your work environment. Rather than trying to ignore such distractions as strong cooking smells or loud colleagues, get away from the problem. Set yourself up in an empty meeting room to regain your focus. Or wear noise-canceling headphones or play “white noise” to blank out anything that would otherwise grab your attention.

FLOW BREAKER 6: Confusion due to overwhelming workload. Always try to have a manageable to-do list, because having one that’s too long can lead to procrastination, as you wonder which task to tackle next. Each day, commit to accomplishing the two most important tasks on your list, and put the rest on hold until tomorrow.

“In our study we found that 79.5 percent of managers view prioritizing tasks effectively as one of the most important planning and time management skills,” says Manktelow. “It is so important!”

FLOW BREAKER 7: Other people. Colleagues visiting your desk can be a big source of distraction, but you’re also a manager who wants to be available for your team members. So, if you don’t want to be disturbed at times when you need to focus on a task, consider either working at home or in a conference room. If you have your own office, close the door and tell your team that you need to be left alone to concentrate for a while.

FLOW BREAKER 8: Shortfalls in your own well-being. It takes a lot of mental and physical energy to juggle your priorities, manage visitors, and have the discipline to control your use of technology. So, it’s vital that you take care of yourself. Get plenty of sleep and make sure you drink enough water, as dehydration can make you feel tired and impact your thinking. It’s also important to get some fresh air and take a brisk walk during the day—this will energize you. And try to avoid heavy lunches and sugar-laden snacks, as they can lead to a slump in concentration later in the day.

“It’s easier than ever to lose track of what you should be doing at work, but you can still take steps to avoid distractions and improve flow,” concludes Birkinshaw. “Learning to better manage these ‘flow breakers’ is a valuable skill that can be practiced and sharpened over time. And when you can achieve flow more easily, you will not only become a better manager, but you’ll set a great example for your team as well.”

About the Authors:

James Manktelow

James Manktelow

James Manktelow and Julian Birkinshaw are coauthors of Mind Tools for Managers: 100 Ways to Be a Better Boss (Wiley, April 2018, ISBN: 978-1-119-37447-3, $28.00).

James Manktelow is founder and CEO of MindTools.com. He has written, edited, and contributed to more than 1,000 articles, more than sixty workbooks, and seven books and e-books on management and leadership, including Manage Your Time and Manage Stress.

Julian Birkinshaw

Julian Birkinshaw

Julian Birkinshaw is professor of strategy and entrepreneurship, deputy dean for programs, and academic director of the Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the London Business School. He is the author of fourteen books, including Fast/ForwardBecoming a Better Boss, and Reinventing Management.

About the Book:

Mind Tools for Managers: 100 Ways to Be a Better Boss (Wiley, April 2018, ISBN: 978-1-119-37447-3, $28.00) is available at bookstores nationwide, from major online booksellers, and direct from the publisher by calling 800-225-5945. In Canada, call 800-567-4797. For more information, please visit the book’s page on www.wiley.com.

If You’ve Got a Lawn, You’ve Got a Playground! And So Much More

If you’ve got a lawn, you’ve got a playground for kids and pets to enjoy. A lawn offers a sturdy place for children and animals to play. In fact, our yards and green spaces offer amazing benefits for your family and community.

Now that summer is here and we will spend more time outdoors, the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) shares a few reasons why our lawns are awesome.

Reason #1: Your lawn offers a safe place for kids and pets to play. A useable outdoor area providing a spacious living area for the entire family, including when it’s time to play! Turfgrass can handle the pounding of little feet and paws, while providing a soft landing pad for tumbles and fun.

Reason #2: Your lawn can help kids get into shape while having fun. Outdoor play is an important strategy in helping the one in three American kids who are obese get fit. It increases fitness levels and builds active, healthy bodies. Research also shows that children’s stress levels fall within minutes of seeing green spaces.

Reason #3: Your lawn can make you happier. Research shows that knowing and experiencing nature, including green space, makes us generally happier, healthier people. Just looking out a window at green spaces can lower adult stress levels. Walking or running in green spaces, instead of synthetic environments, can lead to decreased anger, fatigue and feelings of depression, while increasing attention levels.

Reason #4: Your grass cools down your community and the area around your home. This is especially important in cities, where asphalt and hardscape radiate heat. Grass dissipates this radiant heat through a process called evapotranspiration, which combats the heat island effect.

Reason #5: Your lawn helps control water runoff and erosion. Grass acts like a sponge and prevents water from “running off” into area sewer drains and carrying anything it collects along the way – like motor oil or dirt. Grass cleans the water it collects and breaks down harmful microbes and pollutants, keeping them out of groundwater supplies. The natural filtration system in your lawn is so effective that rain water filtered through a healthy lawn is often as much as 10 times less acidic than water running off a hard surface like a sidewalk or hardscape. It also prevents flooding and soil erosion by “hanging on” to soil.

To get more information and tips on maintaining your lawn, visit www.savelivinglandscapes.com.

Campus Safety Advocate at MTV Awards

SABRE, the leading self-defense brand, is shining a spotlight on campus safety at the MTV Red Carpet Style Lounge, on June 14.

1 in 5 women will experience some form of sexual assault in college (Krebs, 2016), and 75% of women feel unsafe walking home to their dorm or apartment (Her Campus Personal Safety Survey, 2018).

SABRE is featuring 5 key products for campus safety:

Pepper Gel Kit — Perfect for building confidence, this set comes with Sabre’s industry-leading, maximum strength pepper gel formula, inert practice gel, target, and free training video.

Personal Alarm with LED Light —  Featuring a discreet and secure clip, the personal alarm can be heard up to 600 ft away and the LED light ensures visibility on walks after dark.

Personal Alarm with Key Ring — Anywhere their keys go, they’ll be protected with this 120 dB alarm that can alert bystanders up to 600 feet away.

Pepper Spray with Quick Release Key Ring — From the parking garage to the hallway, this spray can be accessed even when the keys are in the ignition or door.

Drink Test Kit — Test for the presence of GHB and Ketamine in alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Compact, discreet, and easy to use.

“The MTV Movie & TV Awards is an amazing platform for us to reach university students and arm them with the tools and knowledge that will empower, protect, and build their confidence​,”​ said Nance.

Make the Most of Summer College Visits

For students entering their senior year of high school or current college students considering a transfer, there’s no better way to determine whether a college or university is the right fit than a college visit. Summer is a great time to make those journeys, when campuses are less chaotic and the demands of the school year are on hold.

Take an Official Tour

Most schools offer scheduled tours to prospective students, and this is typically a great starting point to begin getting a feel for an unfamiliar campus. Tours are often in groups, but may be private depending on the school and your timing. A tour is an efficient way to gather a lot of general information and gain access to buildings such as dorms and classrooms that you might not be able to reach on your own.

Satisfy Your Curiosity

Scheduled tours are designed to answer the needs of the general student population, but they don’t necessarily give all the information you need for your chosen field of study or any special considerations or interests. Make plans to meet with an academic advisor in your chosen field, schedule time with a student life representative or simply grab a campus map and seek out the areas that most interest you.

Explore the City

While academics are the obvious heart of a college tour, not every waking moment will be spent on campus. It’s a good idea to get a feel for the community you could soon be calling home. Check out the attractions, sample the local culinary scene and figure out whether the lifestyle that city can offer fits with your vision for your college experience.

If you’re considering several campuses, a centrally-located hotel like The Study at University City in Philadelphia could be a great temporary home basis while you explore. It’s located at the crossroads of the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University, and it’s in close proximity to Temple University, St Joseph’s University and La Salle University. The hotel’s College Package Tour includes a dedicated travel agent, or there are other special packages to make the most of your stay in Philly. Learn more at thestudyatuniversitycity.com/packages.

Take Time to Talk

Although the student population is lighter in the summer months, you’re still likely to find plenty of students milling around, especially in common areas like the student union. Strike up a conversation. Ask what they wished they had known before coming to school and any other questions you might have.

Make Your Interest Official

Unless there’s something that absolutely convinces you it’s not the right school for you, you should always wrap up a college visit with a stop at the admissions office to get your application underway. You can narrow your final selection later, but an early and enthusiastic application is a good way to up your odds for acceptance.

Remember that while getting accepted is an essential step toward the college experience you desire, first you get to decide which schools make the cut in your book. Make your college visits count so you can choose confidently. (Family Features)

Study Hotels

4 Warning Signs a Family Entertainment Venue May Have Safety Concerns

How parents can I.D. family venue red flags; Expert spotlights avoidable facility and operational debacles exacerbating safety issues 

Written By Merilee Kern, MBA

The facts are sobering, gut-wrenching and indisputable. America’s children are needlessly suffering—and even dying—due to subpar safety standards at family entertainment venues across the board. This as evidenced, for one, by the ceaseless glut of reports on recent amusement and trampoline park adolescent deaths (many with details too horrific to recount), paralysis and a litany of other catastrophic injuries. But the problem is far more pervasive than that, as an array of other types of family-oriented centers and activities fraught with downright unacceptable facility flaws and inadequate policies, or a lack of suitable safety measures or policies all-together.

Enter family entertainment venue executive Tim Murphy, Chief Executive Officer of Rebounderz Family Entertainment Centers. He’s on a mission to significantly improve safety standards not only within the trampoline park industry (having developed and wholeheartedly enforcing a litany of perfect patents related thereto), but with amusement/theme/activity park, playground, concert hall, and other such family establishments at large.

As part of his goal to help keep kids safe from needless injury and death, Murphy is also advising parents on how they can better assess if a facility they are frequenting has safety concerns—warning signs that, not only should the parent heed with caution, but also should be brought to management’s attention for the collective benefit of patrons.

Below, Murphy highlights four key red flags that a family entertainment venue needs to be immediately vetted for safety shortcomings:

  1. Lack of Proper Management. The number one safety protocol starts with suitable management. Does it appear that the managers are properly trained? Are they engaged with their attention to the facility, employees and its patrons or are they indelibly sequestered “in the back” somewhere? Does there appear to be safety checks and measures in place based on signage, how staffers are managing the floor and regularly checking on equipment and facilities?If the bathrooms are a mess, what might this say about property equipment care and upkeep? If any of these are apparent issues, it’s a major red flag and perhaps the tip of the iceberg among other issues you may find at the location.
  2. Lack of Properly Trained Team Members. Floor staffers are a direct reflection of the management’s training style, depth and frequency.Without proper staff training and experience on the grounds, it becomes problematic for everyone. One wrong or missed action by the team member could be detrimental to any family member or even employees.Is the attraction led by trained staff members that are demonstrably and thoroughly engaged in all aspects of the post for which they are responsible? Are they appropriately managing patrons who are engaging with people or equipment improperly? Are they actively ensuring any safety protocols are being adhered to by guests and continuing to check back? Are they demonstrating proper techniques on how to use equipment? Are they picking up litter or otherwise resolving problems and exuding pride in their role and environment? Are they interacting with customers professionally and with a genuine smile? An absence of these qualities, certainly in combination, is a red flag that attentiveness may be lacking.
  3. Improper Equipment and Standards. Does the equipment appear clean, properly installed and in good working condition at the venue? Or, do you see stains on the equipment or floors, rips, tears, and other obvious signs of equipment use and wear and tear? It’s a sign of poor management and maybe even location cash flow issues. Properly run facilities do daily inspections of all equipment and attractions to ensure that guests receive the best possible experience, as well as keep them safe while using the equipment in the space. Additionally, facility rules are paramount—extremely visible parameters of use that will ensure guests know exactly what not to do, also with staffers proactively ensuring every guest follows these rules. Ensuring there’s no question about what to do, or not to do, helps minimize the opportunity for injury, but also serves as a visual cue for the guest to follow to help aid in preventing injury.

    Finally, if the venue serves food, is the equipment (vending machines, counters, tables, ice cream machines, restrooms, etc.) clean, appear to be in good working order, and has received a formal state inspection posted? If the location serves alcohol, is the business properly licensed by the city, county and state? Cleanliness, good equipment operation and proper inspection signage gives patrons a good indication of the condition of the facility and how well both the staff and management is performing.

  4. Improper Facility & Safety Standards. Firstly and highly fundamentally, warning and rules signs should always be displayed, both in the activity areas, at each attraction, and in the restrooms. If there is few or entirely absent signage in this regard, safety is a concern. This is a baseline standard and if it’s sub-par it’s indicative that safety isn’t a priority for the location. Also, are team members verbally instructing guests on how to use equipment, and intervening when that is not the case? Or are they chatting amongst themselves letting patrons run amuck? Also, when applicable, are smaller kids segregated from more aggressive teenagers and adults, which can help prevent injuries to younger guests? And, do employee uniforms aptly differentiate team members from guests? This allows all guests to know who is in control of the facility and who to talk to, and as well as who is the authority at each attraction. As well, does the facility avail First Aid Kits (including defibrillators), team member headsets and PA systems that also help facilitate a safe and properly supervised environment? If management has taken care of all standards of safety, then all guests should have “maximum” fun with little safety concerns.

Exacerbating unresolved safety concerns like the above is a litany of operational debacles that are equally avoidable. This often includes things like:

  1. Small problems going unreported by staff and/or patrons
  2. Equipment and condition problems going unnoticed or unattended
  3. Deficiencies showing up in audits and inspections not being addressed
  4. Less time taken when doing pre-shift checks
  5. Fewer people participating in safety meeting discussions and ongoing education/training sessions
  6. Company and its leaders spending increasingly less time being proactive about safety
  7. Safety is never completely under control, because people are never under complete control
  8. Safety performance “flatlines”—even when the line goes through zero

Ultimately, ongoing formal and informal inspections, staff and management training, safety videos, ongoing personnel evaluations and other safeguards are absolutely fundamental measures that can help a facility quickly identify and rectify structural and policy issues and ensure employees are aptly educated for the type venue at hand,” Murphy underscores. “Not only will this mitigate the chance of injury, but also help owners avoid expensive liability lawsuits.”

Branding, business and entrepreneurship success pundit, Merilee Kern, MBA, is an influential media voice and lauded communications strategist. As the Executive Editor and Producer of “The Luxe List International News Syndicate,” she’s a revered consumer product trends expert and travel industry voice of authority who spotlights noteworthy marketplace change makers, movers and shakers. Merilee may be reached online at www.TheLuxeList.com. Follow her on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/LuxeListEditor and Facebook here: www.Facebook.com/TheLuxeList.

Ignite Ambition

How women can inspire other women

Having “it all” is a concept women have discussed and aspired to attain for nearly 40 years. Still, the conversation continues because no one has determined what having it all actually means.

A first-of-its-kind social experiment dug deeper into the choices women make in life and uncovered that female relationships often play a significant role. In collaboration with Dr. Emily Balcetis, Associate Professor of Psychology at New York University, Lean Cuisine asked women to define their “ideal life,” as part of the ItAll social experiment.

The experience explored how women answered questions alone versus in the presence of other women in their lives. The results showed that women help each other set a higher bar for themselves. In fact, 89 percent of women set more ambitious goals in the presence of other women.

Despite societal stereotypes that suggest female relationships encourage anxiety, pressure and judgment, this experiment determined that women have a positive impact on other women as an engine for ambition.

“We rarely talk about the positive power of female relationships that we saw firsthand in the ItAll experiment,” Balcetis said. “Women can encourage each other to shoot for more where it matters most, rather than working to accomplish something less fulfilling only because society says they should. Women have a truly unique way of inspiring each other to reach their own greatest potential.”

Balcetis offers these tips, which were observed during the ItAll social experiment, to support women aspiring to be the best versions of themselves:

Be a Role Model

Allowing a woman to observe and model your performance, whether in your personal or professional life, is an opportunity to give someone the courage and confidence to excel in her own right. A role model can set standards for an aspiring woman to work toward, while proving that certain goals are, in fact, attainable.

Provide Encouragement

Take stock of the women in your life, including family, friends and social and professional acquaintances. Consider where you may be able to lend support or nudge someone into higher aspirations. It might mean encouraging someone to set or achieve a certain goal, or it may mean challenging someone to take a leap, like applying for a challenging new position.

For example, the ItAll experiment first surveyed female participants individually then allowed them to express their aspirations in the presence of familiar, influential women in their lives. Life choices became less conservative when others were involved. For example, participants declared a desire for higher salaries, chose to work more hours, wanted to spend more time with friends and be more involved with children.

Start a Conversation

It’s been said that variety is the spice of life, and no place is that truer than among women working to define their own ambitions. Engage with women from different backgrounds and start important conversations that may open your eyes to unique experiences or viewpoints you hadn’t previously considered. Arming yourself with that kind of knowledge can help make your own path clearer and encourage others to be a positive force for change.

Learn more about the social experiment and discover ideas to spur ambition for your own life at youtube.com/leancuisine. (Family Features)

Lean Cuisine

Get Ready for Guests

Tips to prepare your home for summer entertaining

Summer entertaining season brings joy, laughter and plenty of ways to create special memories. From a fresh coat of paint to some simple sprucing up, you can ensure your home is poised to be the perfect backdrop to a fun-filled summer.

Color can have an enormous effect on a room’s overall atmosphere, so bringing out your home’s unique charm can be as simple as a quick change of wall color. Change up the feel of your space and make each room warm and welcoming with these tips from Valspar Paint and HGTV HOME by Sherwin-Williams’ Senior Color Designers, Sue Kim and Ashley Banbury.

Clean and clear. Warmer weather is the perfect opportunity to throw open the windows to help lighten and brighten your home. Give every nook and cranny a thorough scrub and organize areas that have grown messy. Try taking on one room at a time to make the job more manageable, and before you know it, you can have the whole house sparkling clean. Take it one step further by adding a clean and refreshing shade of paint to your space. Consider an option like the Quiet Comfort Color Collection from HGTV HOME by Sherwin-Williams, which is a palette of 20 hushed hues that, when used in any combination, can cultivate a neat and tidy vibe throughout your home.

Uncover a creative focal point. During your cleaning, you may uncover open wall space or find an overlooked corner that is now visible. Change newfound free space into a family gallery wall. Paint it with a deep accent color like Valspar Favorite Green and create texture by adding open shelving to display important family mementos or experiences.

Switch up your motif. You may wish to update the decor of an entire room, but simple swaps can make a big difference. Try introducing more lively, summery textiles with fresh window coverings, area rugs and throw pillows. Swap some of your darker, heavier accent pieces in favor of bright, inviting decorative pieces that do dual-duty, such as colorful coasters that add whimsy while giving guests a place to rest their drinks.

Change your kitchen into a hub for entertaining. Bring a breath of fresh air into your kitchen by creating a pleasing, relaxing environment fit for entertaining with a blend of bright and bold colors like Valspar Emerald Ice and Indigo Cloth. Try the reassuring indigo for the base of the island, a central hub, and the light and airy emerald green as a backdrop for a stylish gathering spot that can get guests feeling instantly at ease.

Make it feel like home. Part of making your house as inviting as possible is ensuring that guests feel comfortable and welcome. Creating a guest suite that feels inviting can help make guests feel at home during their visit. While you can do this by stocking up on cozy blankets and towels, you shouldn’t underestimate the power of a warm, nurturing wall color. For example, the Timeless Beauty Color Collection from HGTV HOME by Sherwin-Williams, instilled with a sense of classic coziness, is full of pleasant shades that can be mixed and matched to create your perfectly coordinated, desired vibe.

Find more ideas to get your home ready for this summer’s guests at Lowes.com/Paint. (Family Features)

Valspar and HGTV HOME by Sherwin-Williams

How to Inspire Summer Reading

While summer is the perfect time for kids to take advantage of days spent away from the classroom, remember not to put valuable skills, like reading, on the backburner. In fact, research estimates that 1-2 months of learning loss can occur during the summer months.

To help your child maintain his or her reading level and avoid the “summer slide” – which can be counteracted in part by reading 20 minutes a day over the summer – Kate DiCamillo, a two-time Newbery Medal-winning author and the Pizza Hut BOOK IT! Program literary partner, recommends finding ways to make reading a fun, interactive experience that incorporates children’s interests.

“Reading together is one of the best ways I know to foster a love of reading,” DiCamillo said. “You can read to your child. Your child can read to you. You can listen to an audiobook together. You can both read the same book at the same time and discuss it when you are done. Reading is a way to connect to each other and the world.”

Help your student maintain his or her skills and develop a love of reading this summer with these tips.

Love the Library

To help ensure learning doesn’t stop once school lets out for summer, making periodic trips to the library part of your routine can be a good step. For many children, browsing the shelves on their own and discovering new books in a library can help them get excited about reading. Most libraries offer something for every reader, regardless of age or skill level, including a structured environment that can help make reading a priority.

Incorporate Interests

During the school year, many of the books your student is reading are probably assigned, but summer offers the opportunity for him or her to choose what to read and tailor selections toward specific hobbies or interests, which can increase enjoyment. Start by creating a list of books and activities that align with those interests, and take advantage of pre-built lists at libraries or online resources like those at bookitprogram.com/summer, which offers a variety of book suggestions and activities to help increase reading during the summer months.

Program Participation

Many schools, bookstores and libraries offer summer reading programs for students. Joining a program can provide a way to track your child’s progress, and there are typically rewards involved for meeting certain criteria, which can provide a level of motivation that may otherwise be difficult to replicate.

Make Materials Matter

In addition to traditional books, summer reading can include materials of all lengths, from chapter books to short stories and even magazines or comic books. Even if you’re committed to limiting screen time during the summer, consider a compromise that allows for the use of devices to read e-books or listen to an audiobook.

Read on the Road

One of the best ways to ensure your kids are reading is to make reading materials available to them, even when you’re on the go during the busy summer months. Whether it’s a long road trip or just a trip to the store, taking books – or playing audiobooks – in the car is a perfect opportunity to squeeze in some reading time.

Fostering the habit during the summer can help ensure your child is prepared when school – and the annual BOOK IT! Program – starts again. The program, available to kindergarten through sixth-grade students, helps motivate students to read by rewarding them with recognition and pizza. Learn more about the program and find more summer reading tips and activities at bookitprogram.com/summer. (Family Features)


Pizza Hut

Gift Ideas from Travalo & AnySharp!

Your favorite perfume deserves to arrive in style, and not shattered into pieces all over your gym bag or luggage! Say bon voyage to toting glass perfume bottles across the country, and hello to the Travalo Milano ($49.99), an elegant refillable atomizer. The Milano is finished in opulent and elegant material, with finely crafted metal parts, and is perfectly weighted. New spray technology produces a fine mist which disperses the perfume over a wider area.  Learn more at us.Travalo.com.

How it works: https://us.travalo.com/how-to-use.

The TSA-approved Milano is available in 8 sexy and sleek colors including Black and White for dad as well as Hot Pink, Aqua, Pink, and Red,  and packaged in a sophisticated box. Click for high res images of Travala Milano!

For the family on a budget, the Travalo Classic HD ($15.99) is an excellent option and also available in a wide variety of colors, including Black, Blue, Brown, Silver, and Titanium and White, to name a few. Click for high res images of Travalo Classic HD!

Also for Dad, please consider AnySharpUSA.com‘s line of sharpeners, including Knife Sharpeners, Smart Scissors, Pocket Knife Sharpener, Mini Chopper, Graters and even a sharpener for Dad (Multi-Tool Sharpener) with a  green thumb!

AnySharp’s line of “World’s Best” Knife Sharpener ($22.00) offers Dad the choice of colors to match his unique style, including Citrus Zest, Cream, Metal, Orange Zest, Pink Cream, Pistachio Cream, Racing Green, Royal Blue and Royal Red. For the chef, AnySharp also offers a Pro CHEF Sharpener ($29.99) touted by Chef Jamie Oliver as a must-have and available in sleek colors of Brass, Copper and Wolf.

The Outdoor Dad will appreciate the Outdoors Knife Sharpener with Firestick ($24.99) – professional knife sharpener for any pocket knife or tactical knife with integrated firestick and striker to help light a fire or the Multi-Tool Sharpener ($18.00) a two-in-one sharpener that allows for rejuvenating almost any knife or tool, including gardening tools!